Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Breaking Down Jim Harbaugh’s Coaching Staff

Jim Harbaugh has assembled a new Chargers coaching staff, and there are a lot of new names and faces to discuss.

New Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh has been a busy man since he arrived in town. He’s been building up his new coaching staff for the team – cleaning house, as expected. As well as hiring so many staffers you’d think he’s assembling the Avengers. That being the case, it’s been easy to lose track of who’s been getting hired beyond the most important names – and what they bring to the team. So let’s break down the new Chargers supporting coaching staff.

Breaking Down the New Chargers Coaching Staff

Friends From Michigan

Harbaugh did indeed end up bringing some of his staffers from Michigan – not a difficult sell, considering his success in Michigan and the fact that they just won the national title. The most important name from there was Jesse Minter, who had been Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator for the last two years in Michigan. However, he’s no stranger to the NFL – he was on the Baltimore Ravens defensive staff from 2017 to 2020.

Other names from Michigan include Mike Elston (defensive line coach), Steve Clinkscale (defensive backs coach), and Rick Minter (defensive analyst – also Jesse Minter’s father). Of those three, only the elder Minter has NFL experience – he was the Philadelphia Eagles linebackers coach from 2013 to 2015. Also of note is bringing in former 49ers player NaVorro Bowman, from his first coaching stint, to be the linebackers coach.

Ben Herbert was also brought in, who had been the director of strength and condition for Michigan since 2018. For the Chargers, he will be the executive director of player performance. He has been highly lauded by many, including JJ Watt who worked with him back during his college days.

The Offense

Greg Roman was named the offensive coordinator of the Chargers. This one was a little more controversial among Chargers fans, given how unpopular he had become by the time he left Baltimore. However, he was Harbaugh’s o-coordinator when he was with the 49ers, and he’s never worked with a quarterback like Herbert, so perhaps a little benefit of the doubt is warranted.

At any rate, Roman does want to build up the running game and rely on it more. Presumably to balance that out with the passing game, Harbaugh brought back Shane Day to be the quarterbacks coach – he was there during 2021 and 2022. Marcus Brady was also brought in to be the passing game coordinator, and Marc Trestman as a senior offensive assistant. (Trestman’s another unpopular name nowadays, but his offenses have always been good – he was just a bad head coach.)

So Many Assistants

This is why the Chargers staffing list has gotten long – because of the high number of assistants that Harbaugh has hired. Trestman was mentioned earlier as a senior offensive assistant. There is also a standard offensive assistant, Phil Serchia. And then you have Jonathan Goodwin as an additional offensive assistant and assistant quarterbacks coach. Elsewhere on the offense, you have former star Chargers center Nick Hardwick becoming an assistant offensive line coach.

That’s just the offense. On the defense, you have two defensive assistants with the (apparent) exact same role: Dylan Roney and Mike Hiestand. There is also an assistant defensive line coach – Will Tukuafu, who came from the Seattle Seahawks, having been a defensive quality control coach.

That’s a total of seven assistants, as opposed to four or five the last couple of years. For all we know, Harbaugh may not even be done yet; this staff listing only comes after he finished filling all the vacant spots.

Special Teams

This was the only area that was not heavily altered. Ryan Ficken got to keep his job as special teams coordinator, as did his assistant, Chris Gould. In two years, Ficken has turned the special teams unit from a laughingstock to one of the better in the league – and getting to keep your job when virtually everyone else got sent packing is telling.

There had been rumors that Harbaugh’s son, Jay Harbaugh, might be in line for Ficken’s job or an assistant job. Neither happened and ultimately Jay took the special teams coordinator job with the Seattle Seahawks.

In Conclusion

Jim Harbaugh has certainly hired a full coaching staff for the Chargers, and then some. Most of it consists of people he’s worked with before, but there are some other new faces – and the one coach that everyone universally agreed needed to be kept was kept (Ficken). The biggest question mark will be whether Harbaugh’s faith in Roman is misplaced or not; however, as said before, Harbaugh has earned some degree of benefit of the doubt. This is what the staff will look like this year – and overall, it’s getting the Harbaugh era off on the right foot.


Main Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message